Blackadder of Starfleet
Blackadder: Bureau of Starfleet Personnel
(As names fade in and out across the bottom of the screen, a starship with the classic design of most Starfleet vessels appears in the distance and approaches swiftly. At closest point of approach, it turns back to the stars, and a small object falls from it. It screams down through the atmosphere. The camera turns and sees Commander Blackadder narrowly escape the crash of the cargo pod to the surface. He shakes a fist at the sky, then kicks the pod. It falls open to reveal an object. Each episode has a different object, which is at least slightly relevant to the plot.)
(Pod Contents: a starfleet tunic with a batleth stabbed through it)
(Blackadder enters Melchett's office)
BLACKADDER: You wanted to see me, Admiral?
MELCHETT: Yes, Edmund. The Klingons have requested our assistance in a matter that involves the Alliance.
BLACKADDER: And what would that matter be, sir?
MELCHETT: Recovery. You served aboard the USS Implicit, didn't you?
BLACKADDER: No, sir. But I did serve aboard the USS Explicit. Is that the ship you were thinking of?
MELCHETT: What? What's the difference?
BLACKADDER: Well, one is a Heavy Cruiser, the other is a Fast-Transit Support Ship.
MELCHETT: No, no, no. Between implicit and explicit!
BLACKADDER: Oh. The words. Um, ideas that are clearly spelled out for the reader are 'explicit' and ideas that are not clear, that are left to the reader, or are implied, are 'implicit.'
MELCHETT: But they're both written down?
BLACKADDER: Not in so many words, in the case of implicit.
MELCHETT: In any case, they're similar.
BLACKADDER: No, sir, they're the exact opposite. One might even define explicit as 'including no implicit ideas.'
MELCHETT: That's all well and good, Commander, but it's completely beside the point. I need an officer that's a veteran of the Explicit.
BLACKADDER: Are you sure, sir?
MELCHETT: Of course I'm sure I need an officer. Can't send an enlisted on matters of interstellar diplomacy.
BLACKADDER: No, sir, I meant a veteran of the USS Explicit. Vice the USS Implicit.
MELCHETT: Oh, that. Yes, the Klingons provided the ship registry numbers, and you are the only Federation Officer on Active Duty in the Solar System who was a member of that ship's crew.
BLACKADDER: Ah. And what are the Klingons doing with the Explicit?
MELCHETT: Nothing, at the moment.
MELCHETT: They found it, but they can't get to it.
BLACKADDER (enters his office, Percy and Baldrick are there): I'm going for a short trip. I need to start packing. Baldrick, make arrangements for this office to be closed for one month. If I'm not back by then, appoint my replacement. And contact medical and get me the biggest portable first aid suite they have. I need to backup, move or destroy most of my files (sits at the desk, works on his station throughout the remaining scene).
PERCY: First Aid, Sir? They won't have medical personnel where you're going?
BLACKADDER: Worse than that, Perce, it's a Klingon command. They have Klingon doctors.
BALDRICK: What's wrong with a Klingon doctor, Mr. Blackadder?
BLACKADDER: Oh, nothing, it's just that getting medical attention from a well-trained Klingon doctor is about as effective as asking Doctor Josef Mengeles to perform a ritual Jewish circumcision with a rusty chainsaw.
PERCY: What's this all about, sir?
BLACKADDER: The Klingons have found a Starfleet vessel somewhere on the far side of their Empire.
PERCY: What's it doing there?
BLACKADDER: That's what everyone would like to know.
PERCY: Have the Klingons searched it?
BLACKADDER: Well, as another episode of inexplicable mysticism in an otherwise pragmatic race, they hold the asteroid belt it's orbiting in to have something of a sacred nature.
BLACKADDER: Yes, some ancient space-battle happened there, where an early cheese-grater-headed general named Ulk became a hero to the ages by defeating some super-terror named 'Chukka.' Lots of impossibly huge spaceships, fantastically great damage wrought, planet destroyed and asteroids spewed all over hell. Chukka was either one of the last Klingon Gods or a really powerful hologram-scam-artist.
BLACKADDER: Yes, one makes Ulk an interstellar hero, one makes him the victim of trickery, thus a fool. Guess which belief they adopted. Anyway, it would besmirch Ulk's honor if any implements of war were to befoul the orbit shared by the remains of his command. No weapons, no shields, no implements of inflicting harm of any kind. Probably includes their standard menu, as well.
PERCY: So why are they sending you?
BLACKADDER: They feel that a Starfleet officer recovering Starfleet equipment wouldn't be much befouling.
BALDRICK: Because you're not a warrior, sir?
BLACKADDER: The fact that I'm not a line officer, Baldrick, may prevent me from taking command of a vessel, but it won't prevent me from pounding the entire contents of this office up your behind, with a tractor beam, if you don't have everything ready by the time I have to leave on the Urk'Ensar.
BALDRICK: Yes, sir. Understood, sir.
BLACKADDER: Anyway, the Klingons have a ship on the way here to take me to the Explicit. As a former Duty Officer, I should be able to at least nurse it to a less superstitiously enhanced orbit, there to wait for a proper salvage team from Starfleet Corps of Engineers.
PERCY: Good luck then, sir. Wish I were going.
BLACKADDER: I think it goes without saying, Perce that I also wish you were going.
PERCY: (smiling) You do sir? You really want me along?
BLACKADDER: Not 'with me,' you slackwit, 'instead of.' I guess it did need saying. Or maybe written in flaming letters, ten foot tall and rotating slowly across your line of sight.
(A murky bridge on a Klingon vessel. The female commander sits in the center chair, other Klingons lurch and loom through the shadows around her. Blackadder is escorted in to stand next to her chair)
FHANG: Human! Welcome aboard the Urk'Ensar. I am Commander Fhang, and this is my vessel. You are my mission.
BLACKADDER: Thanks, I-
FHANG: You will be given quarters next to the security berths. I suggest, for your personal safety, you spend as much time as possible cowering in those quarters.
BLACKADDER: Well, I-
FHANG: We are a war vessel, Commander Human, and you will comport yourself accordingly. Be aware that if you must move about the ship, blooded warriors have precedence aboard, outranking untested warriors, then technical staff, then medical staff.
BLACKADDER: And administrative staff? Especially administrative staff on loan from a staunch ally?
FHANG: (scans the bridge for a while, eyes falling on a small beetle-looking thing crawling on the deck. She points at it.) That. (Fhang turns to look at Blackadder) You outrank that. Anything with a smaller number of legs outranks you. (the bridge crew laughs at the Commander's joke).
BLACKADDER: I see. And the fact that the combined forces of Kronos have never, quite, managed to conquer Earth in the last 200 years means...?
FHANG: (Leans forward to almost nose-touching with Blackadder) It means that we never really, really wanted to. (Leans back) SO! What can you tell me about the USS Explicit?
BLACKADDER: A Fast-Transit Support Ship, lost during the war with the Dominion. Twenty three people on board, returning to Deep Space 9 after depositing a garrison force on a moon in the Areii system.
FHANG: And what sort of secret mission was it on?
BLACKADDER: (offers a memory device) Nothing. Here are copies of the orders she was under, the logs at the last time she downloaded them, interviews with the officers that she transported, personnel files of the crew, astronavigation charts of the area she was presumed to be in at the time we lost contact, and recovered intel from the Cardassians that have anything to do with that area during the war.
FHANG: Hmmm. (takes memory device) So what are you trying to hide?
BLACKADDER: Nothing. We're completely in the dark on this, and can't wait to examine the logs. Which we'll gladly make available to you. We appreciate this chance to cooperate with you, and show our gratitude for your alerting us to the location of our lost vessel. I'm completely at your direction, with no agenda besides the stated one, to wit, to recover the Explicit with minimal dishonor to your honored dead.
FHANG: Very well, Human. We shall see. HELM! Take us out of orbit, engage approved heading.
(Exterior view: The Klingon ship warps away from Mars)
(Blackadder enters the Klingon dining hall where the usual menagerie of food animals and living, um, things are spread on the table. Klingon crewmen around the table watch closely to see the human's reaction to live food.)
BLACKADDER: So. This is dinner, is it? Small living things crouched fearfully on the plate so great hulking warriors can stab them with a dining fork and live out a very abbreviated hunt fantasy?
CREWMAN #1: Yeah. This is dinner.
BLACKADDER: And no provisions could be made for human-style provisions?
CREWMAN #2: This is a Klingon ship, human. If you are too weak for Klingon food, perhaps you should cook your own.
BLACKADDER: Perhaps I should. (draws something from a pocket, fiddles with a control)
CREWMAN #1: What is that?
BLACKADDER: Oh, just a (tosses onto the center of the table) thermal grenade. (ducks beneath table, half the Klingons duck with him, the other half stare at the table)
(The grenade goes of in a blinding flash. The Klingons caught flat footed are spattered with food and more than a little toasted. Everyone on the floor stands up slowly.)
CREWMAN #2: DINNER!
CREWMAN #1: It's dead!
CREWMAN #3: It's RUINED!
BLACKADDER: (takes a handful of something blackened off the table, nibbles) It's cooked. (He takes a seat, props his feet on the table and gnaws at whatever it is he's eating.) So. How was everyone's day?
CREWMAN #1 (spattered) (takes something tentacled that was draped over his forehead down and takes a tentative bite, his eyes never leaving Blackadder): Hmm. You may not be as soft as we'd feared, human.
CREWMAN #3 (picks at something on #4's shoulder): You know, I think the explosive accelerant actually improves the flavor of gisK'eckt. (#4 brushes #3 off) No, really. Try it.
(They all sit and start picking at the flash-cooked food in moderate to good humor.)
(On the Klingon Bridge, Commander Fhang in her chair, Blackadder beside it, both watching the viewscreen. The Explicit comes into view, centered on screen. It appears undamaged.)
TECHNICIAN: It appears undamaged. No life signs, no response to hails, Commander.
BLACKADDER and FHANG (together): Very well. (They look at each other)
BLACKADDER: I mean, um, well, not to interrupt, Commander. Carry on.
FHANG: Thank you, Commander. (turns to helmsman) Helm! Bring us as close as possible without crossing into an improper orbital range.
HELM: Yes, Commander. (everyone on the bridge turns to see if Commander Blackadder will respond. He shows a marked interest in the display on the main screen.)
TECHNICIAN: The Federation vessel is still outside of safe transporter range.
BLACKADDER: Isn't that just the teeniest bit redundant? To me, anything outside of 'safe' transporter range is just plain 'outside of transporter range.' Unsafe transport is singularly oxymoronic. I mean really, when your molecules are being shifted, transported, and arranged alphabetically, don't you consider any threat to the process a stopping point?
FHANG: No, not really. But if you were to suffer some sort of incapacitation from the transport, it would take quite some time to get a suitable replacement. I suppose, in the interests of the Alliance, and in getting this toDSaH wreck out of Klingon space, we should make it as likely as possible you at least reach the vessel safely.
BLACKADDER: I heartily concur.
CREWMAN#1: Commander Fhang, we could strip an assault shuttle, remove all offensive weaponry and shielding. Remove all weaponry from the pilot as well. There shouldn't be any dishonor to using such an empty can to deliver the human to the derelict.
FHANG: Excellent! Check that idea with the chaplain, make it so. Human, we'll have you back among your pillows and padded chairs by coffee time.
BLACKADDER: That's 'tea time' I think you mean. Although your raktajino certainly embodies the worst bits of both.
FHANG: You will take no weapons onto the ship with you, of course.
BLACKADDER: Of course. Just a few meals, and my medical kit.
FHANG: Med kit. Yes, you might stub your toe or trip in a doorway and have your arm ripped off. By all means, take a medical kit with you, Human.
BLACKADDER: Thank you, I think I will.
FHANG: Bekt! Scan and search him and his material. Ensure no weapons enter Ulk's orbit.
TECHNICIAN: Yes, Commander
(View of the inside of an airlock on the Explicit. The door on one side opens, Blackadder and Crewman #1 step in. Part of a Klingon shuttle in view beyond them. Blackadder is holding two carryalls.)
BLACKADDER: Look, I can handle it from here. I know you feel naked without your sidearm, knives and other implements of mayhem. You should get back to your ship. I'll be alright. No weapons, but I'm sure there isn't any real danger.
CREWMAN#1: It would be dishonorable for me to offer you arms, in this sacred zone, Human. (Extends his hand towards Blackadder, drops a few thermal grenades into his palm) But you may need to… cook something before you get your replicators back online.
BLACKADDER: (uncharacteristically touched by the gesture) Why, thank you. I… I really don't know what to say.
CREWMAN#1: Say nothing. Certainly not to Commander Fhang.
BLACKADDER: Of course. Thanks again. This… means a lot to me.
(Klingon leaves, door shuts. Blackadder looks at the grenades for a moment, then opens one bag. Closeup to the label "Mark IV Medical Kit." Inside, there are several shiny modules that he assembles into a big phase rifle. Blackadder takes the weapon, checks the charge, mumbles:)
BLACKADDER: An ounce of prevention is the best medicine, I always say. Set phasers to "Look out for Number One." (just before he opens the inner door, he looks again at the thermal grenades. As he clips them to the side of the phase rifle he shakes his head and mutters) What a sap. (he enters the ship)
(View of the bridge of the Explicit. The lights are all out, and a light beam from the phase rifle plays over empty seats and blank screens.)
BLACKADDER: Helloooooo? Anyone here? Crew? Federation citizens? Allied races? Bug-eyed monsters? Flesh-eating aliens from a widely variant gene pool that miraculously find human biochemistry tasty rather than toxic? Hello? (he crosses over to the helm station. Flips a few buttons, lights come up, screens come on, fans start.) There, that's better. Now they can see me coming. Computer!
BLACKADDER: Replay the last entry from the Captain's personal log.
(VOICE): We're picking up some interesting readings from a small interstellar body just off our course. I'm ordering a course change to further investigate.
BLACKADDER: That's the last one, eh? Okay, play me the very last entry made by ship's personnel. Whatever log it's in.
COMPUTER: Engineer's log, final entry: (VOICE2): I think we're OH HOLY SHI- (silence)
BLACKADDER: Oh. One of those. Great. Computer, report ship's status.
COMPUTER: Ship's status is General Standby. All operating stations secured. All power generation at minimal sustainable level. All activity suspended except Helm.
BLACKADDER: Oh? What's the Helm doing?
COMPUTER: Talking to you.
BLACKADDER (looks down at the HELM he's standing by) OH. Yeah. Where is the crew?
COMPUTER: All assigned personnel have departed the ship.
BLACKADDER: Where have they gone?
COMPUTER: I do not have that information.
BLACKADDER: No, of course you don't. Computer, scan the ship internally. Is there anything unusual going on anywhere?
COMPUTER: Sensors register a medical tricorder on the bridge that seems to be set to 'kill' but nothing else seems to be outside expected parameters.
BLACKADDER: (hugs the phase rifle a bit closer) Report status of shuttles and escape pods.
COMPUTER: All shuttles and escape pods are in the appropriate locations.
BLACKADDER: Well, this is going no-where fast.
(Behind Blackadder, a large, ugly, heavily scarred Klingon fades into view, but remains slightly transparent)
ULK: What are you doing on my ship?
(Blackadder spins and fires the phaser through Ulk, burns a hole in the bulkhead. Ulk doesn't flinch.)
BLACKADDER: WHOA! Where did you come from? Who are you?
ULK: I am ULK! General of the Imperial Fleet. Hero of Nagash! Holder of the Emperor's Sash!
BLACKADDER: Isn't that kind of like being Lord Privy?
ULK: What do you want!?
BLACKADDER: Actually, I want to take this ship back to MY empire, where it belongs. You haven't seen the crew around anywhere, have you?
ULK: The ship is as I found it. Here, in the track of my orbit, adrift and silent.
FHANG (voice from communicator): Commander! Our scans detect weapons fire. Are you alright?
BLACKADDER: I'm fine, for the moment.
FHANG (voice from communicator): Are you... armed?
BLACKADDER: NO! No, no, that was an energy discharge from an open integrity conduit. I can't tell, yet, if it was damaged or in the middle of maintenance when the crew left.
ULK: Who are you talking to!?
BLACKADDER: Did you'uh, hear that?
FHANG (voice from communicator): Your last transmission? Yes, we received it.
BLACKADDER: And, um, no other… transmissions?
FHANG (voice from communicator): What do you mean?
BLACKADDER: Nothing, nothing. Talk again later. (he taps off the communicator) So. You're not real. Or at least, not real to scanners, phasers or communicators. What are you?
ULK: I am ULK, Human. That is all you need to know. And now I command this craft.
BLACKADDER: Ulk, huh? (Blackadder begins walking around the bridge) So, you have no idea how a particular Starfleet craft managed to jump a few parsecs, lose its crew, and enter a stable orbit in the one spot in the Klingon Empire where no one would bother it, except the Klingon's closest allies?
ULK: I know nothing about which you speak!
BLACKADDER: How about how a 'ghost' of a Klingon from a few centuries before First Contact manages to speak Terran?
ULK: Your, uh, translator device must be-
BLACKADDER: Now, now, if my communicator doesn't hear you, the Universal Translator wouldn't hear you, either (he sits at the Engineering Station). How about an easier question. Before I left this command, the Engineer spent a lot of his free time trying to reduce 'humor' to an algorithm that computers could use. Any idea how successful he was with that?
ULK: I know nothing about which you speak!
BLACKADDER: There's a downcheck on the Turing Test, Ulky. (He scans the engineering console. Closeup to a simple toggle switch labeled: Artificial Intelligence Subroutines. We see Blackadder's finger snap it from 'ON' to 'OFF.')(View of ULK as he fades away) Computer! Report the location of ship's personnel!
COMPUTER: Heavily shielded stasis pods are in cargo bay three.
(On the Klingon Bridge, Commander Fhang is talking with the viewscreen, which shows Blackadder on the bridge of the Explicit. Starfleet personnel move around behind him)
BLACKADDER: So, after they'd realized it was a one-way wormhole, they noticed that the background radiation was well above lethal levels. They quickly shielded a cargo bay, and bashed together some stasis pods to protect them through the transit.
FHANG: And between the shielding and the stasis, our scans couldn't detect them. So where did the fake 'Ulk' come in?
BLACKADDER: Many systems weren't functioning in the wormhole, and they didn't know what their destination would be. So they enabled the artificial intelligence on the ship's computer and told it to 'take care' of them when they came out, until Starfleet could be contacted.
FHANG: And it didn't contact Starfleet, or wake the crew because...?
BLACKADDER: Because due to some 'humor' programming, it thought this way would be more fun.
FHANG(Shakes her head): Only on a human vessel… And how did you ever manage to defeat the programming?
BLACKADDER: Well, I'm not one to brag, but Starfleet does expect even staff officers to be conversant with all our crucial systems, and programming languages. (Looks over his shoulder, turns back to the screen) Well, Commander, we're almost ready to leave. Don't worry, we'll be giving Ulk's orbit a wide berth until we're out of the system. Thanks for the assist.
FHANG: Anytime, Commander. And thank you.
FHANG: For teaching the ship's cooks how to (tosses a thermal grenade from hand to hand) 'BAM! Blast it up a notch!'
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